A senior official at the Doordarshan Kendra in Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai has been suspended allegedly after the public broadcaster’s Tamil channel did not broadcast live one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches during his visit to the city earlier this week, The Indian Express reported on Thursday.

Assistant Director of Programming R Vasumathi handles DD Podhigai, which allegedly did not broadcast on Monday the prime minister’s speech at a hackathon event. Doordarshan News, Delhi, and other channels telecast it.

“We carried his speech addressing a small gathering at the airport on his arrival [in Chennai] and his speech at the IIT-Madras convocation ceremony but missed his speech at the India-Singapore Hackathon 2019 event,” an unidentified DD official told The Indian Express.

However, a suspension order dated October 1, signed by Prasar Bharati’s Chief Executive Officer Shashi Shekhar Vempati, did not mention the reason for Vasumathi’s suspension. It placed her under immediate suspension under sub-rule (1) of Rule 10 of the Central Civil Services Rules (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965. Prasar Bharati is the public broadcasting agency that runs Doordarshan and All India Radio.

“This was a case of wilful insubordination,” a Prasar Bharati official told The News Minute. “She failed to telecast the speech live despite having been instructed to do so explicitly.”

While a senior official claimed that the order to suspend Vasumathi “came to Prasar Bharati from the top level”, another official said she had made a mistake. “She seems to have had a belief that there is a Model Code of Conduct in place ahead of state bye-polls [for the Vikravandi and Nanguneri Assembly seats, scheduled for October 21],” the official told The Indian Express.

The Prime Minister’s Office inquired on September 30 itself why the speech was not broadcast live, The News Minute reported, citing an unidentified official. An official said DD National had telecast the speech, which was the regular practice for national events.

Shekhar Vempati refused to comment on the matter. “It is an internal administration matter and I will not be offering any comment on the same,” he told the newspaper. Vasumathi also was not available for comment.

Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.